“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” -1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (ESV)
I (Marc) got terrible news last week. The longest and hardest week of my life began with the deafening silence of an ultrasound machine. “There is no cardiac activity,” the technician said. My heart sunk. Our daughter, Zoe Marie, had passed away in the womb at just 17 weeks.
Why? What sense does that make? What did we do wrong? All sorts of questions flooded our minds, but in the days since then, we have already begun to receive glimpses of God’s good purposes behind our pain and loss. We are still heart-broken and incredibly grieved by the loss of our daughter, but more than ever, we are thankful for our Savior.
It’s no coincidence that just a few days before we found out about Zoe’s death, I had written here on the blog of the significance of Jesus’ ascension and the fact that He reigns over all things. Now I am heeding my own advice and listening to my own counsel.
Our daughter’s passing was not a mistake or an oversight by our Lord.
I have experienced first-hand how this truth of the gospel can bring comfort and peace in the midst of incredible sadness and grief. Because of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection, I have hope that my daughter will be raised someday, fully alive! And because of the gospel, I can trust that God is good and that He loves me, even when He leads me to suffering.
A friend of mine sent this quote from J.C. Ryle that has brought us great encouragement over the last few days:
Are you a distressed believer? Is your heart pressed down with sickness, tried with disappointments, overburdened with cares? To you I say this day, “Behold the cross of Christ.” Think whose hand it is that chastens you; think whose hand is measuring to you the cup of bitterness which you are now drinking. It is the hand of Him who was crucified! It is the same hand which, in love to your soul, was nailed to the accursed tree. Surely that thought should comfort and hearten you. Surely you should say to yourself, “A crucified Savior will never lay upon me anything that is not for my good. There is a needs be. It must be well.” -J.C. Ryle
I am grateful beyond words for the cross and the resurrection. They stand as proof positive to my family that our God cares for us, that He loves us, that we are His children, and that someday, He will raise us to eternal life with Him. Without this good news, we would despair and grieve without any sense of hope. But praise God that He knows what it is like to see His child in the grave–and that He raised Him up! Amidst the terrible news of miscarriage, that “good news” brings us hope and peace.
Zoe Marie is with Jesus now. Someday, we will see her face-to-face and worship with her side-by-side.